4 February 2014
A new global scientific report released today (4/2/2014) for World Cancer Day shows that cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide, responsible for 8.2 million deaths per year and rising.
The World Cancer Report also predicts that cancer incidence will increase by 75% over the next two decades, exceeding 20 million new cases a year in 2025.
Cancer Council Australia spokesperson, Terry Slevin, said reasons for the increase varied in different countries. “Australia has one of the world’s highest cancer incidence rates, third in the world behind Denmark and France, largely because of our ageing population.
“Australians are living longer than previous generations, thanks to improved infection and cardiovascular disease control. Unfortunately cancer is a disease that is more likely to affect us later in life, so the longer Australians live, the more cancer cases we see,” Mr Slevin said.
“Extended life expectancy in the developing world is also increasing cancer rates globally. Unfortunately, developing countries are also adopting the worst of our Western lifestyle, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity, which is significantly contributing to global cancer prevalence.
“We need to act as a global community and do what we know works to reduce the cancer burden – promoting a healthy lifestyle, evidence-based screening programs, and access to life-saving medicine.”
Sorting fact from fiction, with the iheard mobile app
Mr Slevin, who chairs Cancer Council Australia’s Occupational and Environmental Cancers Committee, said the prevalence of cancer had given rise to misinformation and cancer myths.
To help Australians sort cancer fact from fiction, Cancer Council has created a mobile app for its ‘iheard’ website (iheard.com.au).
“If you believed everything on the internet about cancer, you’d be scared to leave the house. Myths and misinformation about cancer, often spread on the internet, can distract people from doing the basic, proven things that will reduce their risk,” Mr Slevin said.
“We get asked all sorts of questions about cancer – everything from whether lipstick will give you cancer to whether you can cure yourself with baking soda,” Mr Slevin said.
“We want to help Australians separate scientific fact from fiction. The message is simple: to lower your cancer risk, don’t smoke, do eat a balanced diet and be active, avoid harmful UV radiation, limit your alcohol consumption.
“Screen for bowel, cervical and breast cancers if you’re in the appropriate age groups, and consult your GP if you are notice any unusual changes in the way your body feels or is functioning.”
Details on the iheard mobile app can be found at www.cancer.org.au/iheard. The theme for World Cancer Day is ‘Debunk the myths’.